Banned Books Redux

From the Los Angeles Times:

Yet it’s foolish, self-defeating even, to pretend that books are innocuous, that we don’t need to concern ourselves with what they say. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t really matter if we ban them, because we have already stripped them of their power.

Books do change things: Just think of “Common Sense,” which lighted the fuse of the American Revolution, or “Mein Kampf,” which laid out the blueprint for Hitler’s Germany.

These are very different books — one a work of hope and human decency, the other as venal a piece of writing as I’ve ever read — but what they have in common is a kind of historical imperative, the sense that, at the right place and time, a book can be a galvanizing factor, for good or ill.

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